I am writing to inform you that the City of Chicago’s Local Liquor Control Commissioner last week grantedan application for a packaged goods liquor license at 6701-03 N. Clark (at North Shore). The license simply replaces a license that was held previously at that address and does not result in a net increase in the number of liquor licenses on Clark Street.
The business has been operating as a combination grocery and liquor store under the name “Supermercado El Mexicano.” The new owner, Mr. Amit Amin, will continue selling both groceries and liquor, but plans to change the name of the establishment to “North Shore Food and Liquor.” Mr. Amin also owns Evanston First Liquors at 1019 Davis Street in Evanston.
Most of the ward is covered by a moratorium on packaged goods liquor licenses, but last July I introduced an ordinance lifting the moratorium on a two block section of Clark Street south of Pratt to enable the owner of Rogers Park Fine Wine and Spirits (6741 N. Clark) to expand his store. City law prohibits reinstating the moratorium for one year, and it was during this one-year period that Mr. Amin applied for his liquor license.
Because the moratorium has been lifted temporarily, Mr. Amin did not require any official action from me to obtain his liquor license. Nevertheless, I hosted a community meeting last February on his application because the property ordinarily would fall within a moratorium area.
Approximately fifty neighborhood residents attended the meeting. Mr. Amin promised at the meeting to upgrade both the interior and exterior of the store and improve the quality of its inventory. Based on those representations and a belief that Mr. Amin would represent an improvement over the previous owner, the vast majority of those in attendance who expressed an opinion supported Mr. Amin’s application.
Mr. Amin already has removed the exterior burglar bars from the storefront, taken down most of the paper advertising signs from the store window and eliminated some of the very cheap wines and liquor from his store inventory. He also entered into a signed contract to remove the loud, garish lighted signs that currently exist on the exterior of the storefront and replace them with an attractive awning.
Mr. Amin is working with the Rogers Park Business Alliance to re-organize and make more attractive the interior lay-out of the store and add some higher-end wines and craft beers to the store’s inventory.
To provide additional assurance that Mr. Amin will carry through with his promises, I asked him to enter into two “Memoranda of Understanding” in which Mr. Amin agreed to various improvements to the business and his product inventory. Though the memoranda have no binding legal effect, they do provide a measure of accountability.
For copies of the Memoranda of Understanding and the contract for the exterior sign work, click on the attachment below:
Finally, now that nearly a year has passed since the moratorium was lifted, I will introduce in the City Council next week an ordinance reinstating the moratorium on the two block stretch of Clark Street south or Pratt, effective July 28th, the one year anniversary of its repeal.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reply to this e-mail.